Carl Malamud, Chief Technology Officer, Center for American Progress
If you happen to be lucky (or unlucky) enough to live in Washington, D.C., and are appropriately credentialed or won the right lottery, you can choose from a couple of dozen places to go watch the workings of government in action. Congressional hearings and the White House briefing rooms are the best known of these official hotspots, but most agencies have their own hearing rooms for official actions, press conferences, and other public proceedings.
Sometimes these official proceedings make themselves visible to the rest of us, usually through low-resolution streaming video using a proprietary format. A few hearings get archived, though the archives are rarely accessible.
A new project aims to change that by streaming official proceedings out to the Internet as high resolution video and creating a permanent archive. It is our belief that the respective agencies have an obligation to create these feeds, since you can’t really can’t call a proceeding public if it isn’t on the Internet. It is also our belief that permanent archives of these official records should be widely replicated throughout the Internet. Consequently, the aim of this project is to create the service and then put it self out of business in a few years by encouraging/cajoling the government to do the right thing. Technically, the project consists of gatewaying an existing video-over-fiber facility which transports 280 mbps uncompressed video into a series of 50-mbps MPEG-2 streams transported over an OC48 which backhauls the data into public peering facilities, where the streams are transcoded and made available without charge to service providers, such as Google Video and the Internet 2 backbone. Additional services envisioned include an "anybody can annotate" service which couples XMPP-based sessions (such as Google Talk services) to stored archives.